Comprehensiveness of national bibliographic databases for social sciences and humanities: Findings from a European survey | Research Evaluation | Oxford Academic


Linda Sīle Janne Pölönen Gunnar Sivertsen Raf Guns Tim C E Engels Pavel Arefiev Marta Dušková Lotte Faurbæk András Holl Emanuel Kulczycki, Bojan Macan Gustaf Nelhans Michal Petr Marjeta Pisk Sándor Soós Jadranka Stojanovski Ari Stone Jaroslav Šušol Ruth Teitelbaum


This article reviews in detail the collection of SSH research output in 13 national bibliographic databases across Europe, as potential alternative and more comprehensive sources for bibliometric analysis. Many are created and maintained for the purposes of national research funding and evaluation. The authors found some variation in collection criteria and research output types as well as variations in terminology and language across the databases. Some are publicly available and could be useful sources of data. although not necessarily citation data. Links to 21 databases are included in Supplementary table  2. Funded through ENRESSH.


This article provides an overview of national bibliographic databases that include data on research output within social sciences and humanities (SSH) in Europe. We focus on the comprehensiveness of the database content. Compared to the data from commercial databases such as Web of Science and Scopus, data from national bibliographic databases (e.g. Flemish Academic Bibliographic Database for the SSH (VABB-SHW) in Belgium, Current Research Information System in Norway (CRISTIN)) are more comprehensive and may, therefore, be better fit for bibliometric analyses. Acknowledging this, several countries within Europe maintain national bibliographic databases; detailed and comparative information about their content, however, has been limited. In autumn 2016, we launched a survey to acquire an overview of national bibliographic databases for SSH in Europe and Israel. Surveying 41 countries (responses received from 39 countries), we identified 21 national bibliographic databases for SSH. Further, we acquired a more detailed description of 13 databases, with a focus on their comprehensiveness. Findings indicate that even though the content of national bibliographic databases is diverse, it is possible to delineate a subset that is similar across databases. At the same time, it is apparent that differences in national bibliographic databases are often bound to differences in country-specific arrangements. Considering this, we highlight implications to bibliometric analyses based on data from national bibliographic databases and outline several aspects that may be taken into account in the development of existing national bibliographic databases for SSH or the design of new ones.


Source: Comprehensiveness of national bibliographic databases for social sciences and humanities: Findings from a European survey | Research Evaluation | Oxford Academic

Charting Equity in Higher Education: Drawing the Global Access Map

Authors: Graeme Atherton, Constantino Dumangane, Geoff Whitty

London, UK: Pearson, 2016


This report focuses largely on student access to higher education globally. “Experts” in fifty countries were surveyed about HE access data, and the authors analysed available data, developing a Global Access Data map.

It discusses the difficulties in data collection and comparison across countries because of different practices, definitions and measurement of indicators and limitations in data availability beyond gender and SES. These factors thwarted the authors’ intentions to develop a Global Equity Index. In response they developed a Global Equity Data Charter for Higher Education. Includes useful data sources.

Web site summary:

We know the economic benefit to individuals and to communities of increased levels of Higher Education (HE) participation. We also know that participation in HE has been expanding steadily; we anticipate there will be half a billion students participating in postsecondary education by 2030. But what do existing data tell us about who is accessing HE, and who is currently missing out? Specifically, what do we know about equity in access to high quality HE? Knowing that we are best able to manage what we measure, are institutions, nations, and international organisations capturing HE access data by critical social indicators (such as SES, gender, disability, or geographic remoteness to name but a few)?

Charting Equity in Higher Education: Drawing the Global Access Map, is the newest entry into the Open Ideas at Pearson series of global thought leadership. In researching the piece, which was supported by Pearson and the University of Newcastle (Australia), the authors undertook:

  • a survey of current data collection practices in 50 countries,
  • a review of existing data sources, and
  • deep dive case studies on six key countries (United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, India, and Columbia).

In this short and sharp final report, the authors identify and discuss five key messages, based on their examination of the evidence:

  1. Existing data suggest inequalities in access to HE are pervasive, spanning countries around the world, regardless of size or wealth.
  2. There are significant limitations to the data, with little data being collected beyond gender and SES. Further, different countries and regions have their own dominant concerns as regards equality, grounded in social, economic and political history.
  3. Comparisons across countries are important but difficult because of the various ways social indicators are defined and measured.
  4. Access means more than entry and participation; it also means completion of a high quality programme.
  5. Political will and resources shape data collection.

The authors initiated this work in the hopes of developing a Global Equity Index. Current data, however, made the construction of a rigorous, credible index challenging. To move this area forward, the authors have issued a call to action in the form of a Global Equity Data Charter – a series of actions to be undertaken by institutions, nations, and international organisations to help Higher Education Institutions and governments understand and address inequalities in who benefits from HE.

Source: Charting Equity in Higher Education: Drawing the Global Access Map

Mapping Australian higher education 2018 | Grattan Institute

Mapping Australian higher education 2018


Andrew Norton and Ittima Cherastidtham, The Grattan Institute

A report on Australian higher education over a range of years that looks at policy and funding, student enrolment characteristics, the student experience, the HE workforce, research, employment outcomes and HE providers. There is some discussion of student equity, and of gender pay gaps of graduates, but not specifically for HE staff. Figures are mostly overall for Australia, not by institution. However, it provides useful background/overview and some data sources

Web page overview

The graduate gender pay gap in Australia is narrowing, with more women in paid work than ever before. Women’s earnings generally outpaced men’s over the past decade – but the pay gap remains large.

Female university graduates are now expected to earn 27 per cent less than men – or $750,000 less – over their career. Ten years earlier, the gap was 30 per cent.

The median-income female graduate from 2016 can expect to earn about $2 million over her career. Early-career female graduates from 2016 are earning about 4 per cent more (after allowing for inflation) than their counterparts from 2006. Early-career male graduates from 2016, by contrast, are earning about 3 per cent less than their counterparts from a decade earlier.

The driving force behind women’s earnings growth over the past decade is a big increase in the number of women with children staying in the workforce – up by nearly 10 percentage points among graduates aged 25-34, and 5 percentage points among graduates aged 35-44.

This is a policy success story. As paid maternity leave has become more widely available, more women are choosing to stay employed when they become mothers, rather than quitting the workforce. And this trend is expected to continue. As subsidies make childcare more affordable for women returning to work, more are doing so full-time.

Gender equality in the workforce is not yet a reality in Australia, but it is slowly getting closer.

More broadly, growth in professional jobs in Australia did not keep up with the growing number of graduates over the decade, and recent graduates are getting less financial benefit from their degrees than earlier graduates at the same point in their careers.

In early 2017, 28 per cent of recent graduates who were looking for full-time work were yet to find it four months from completion, up from 15 per cent in early 2008, before the global financial crisis.

Earnings either grew weakly or declined over the past decade for early-career graduates from all disciplines except education, nursing and medicine. A median-income male graduate in science, commerce or law earned less in 2016 than in 2006, although law graduates still have above-average incomes.

Although the labour market remains tough for young graduates, it has improved since its lowest point in 2014, reflecting recent growth in professional jobs.

Mapping Australian higher education 2018, the fifth in a series going back to 2012, shows that in 2016 a record 41 per cent of Australian 19-year-olds were enrolled in higher education institutions.

After a decade of rapid growth, domestic commencing bachelor-degree enrolments are now growing slowly and so higher education participation will plateau over the next few years.

International student enrolments are still booming, bringing in more than $9 billion in fee revenue in 2017. China and India are the largest source countries.

Australian public universities still receive more than half their cash flow from government grants or loans, but are becoming less reliant on government.

Public spending on research has fallen in recent years, although total research spending by universities is up slightly, to $11 billion in 2016.


Read the media release

Listen to a podcast of Andrew Norton and Ittima Cherastidtham discussing the report


Source: Mapping Australian higher education 2018 | Grattan Institute

Accuracy of affiliation information in Microsoft Academic: Implications for institutional level research evaluation

Authors: Ranjbar-Sahraei B.; Eck, N.J. van; Jong R. de

Comment: This is a summary of results for a poster presented at the STI 2018 Conference in Leiden. The work compares research output recorded by both Microsoft Academic (MA) and Web of Science (WoS) for Leiden University. A first level automated matching is done, revealing differences across MA and WoS. Then, a sample of 100 is drawn from each of the disagreeing parts of the comparison. Manual checking of these found that MA contained affiliation errors.

Abstract: In this work, we study the accuracy of affiliation information in Microsoft Academic (MA). To conduct this study, we have considered the full set of publications assigned to Leiden University (LU) as provided by two different data sources: MA and Web of Science (WoS). The results of this study suggest that a considerable number of publications in MA have missing or wrong affiliation information.

Source: Accuracy of affiliation information in Microsoft Academic: Implications for institutional level research evaluation

The prevalence of green and grey open access: Where do physical science researchers archive their publications? | SpringerLink

Authors: Li Zhang & Erin Watson

Comment: This paper focuses on comparing green and grey (archiving in academic social media or personal/departmental website) OA, for CIHR funded research. Data is extract from WoS and Google Scholar used to determine green and grey OA. The prevalence of grey OA is highlighted, and the low up-take of green OA is shown as not attributed to publisher policies, as most do allow green. The takeaway is suggestion to rethink about ways to archive OA, given the high costs of running an institutional repository.

Abstract: The Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) implemented an open access policy for its grant recipients in 2008. We used bibliographic data from the Web of Science to find out how CIHR-funded researchers in the physical sciences self-archived their publications. We also examined the self-archiving policies of the journals in which the researchers published, and compared the citation rates of two different self-archiving approaches: the green open access route (deposit in an institutional or subject repository) and the grey open access route (deposit in an academic social network or personal/departmental website). Only 14% of the articles were openly accessible through the green open access route, while 37% could be accessed through the grey open access route. We cannot ascribe the low uptake of green open access to publishers’ self-archiving policies, as almost all journals allowed self-archiving through the green open access route. Authors deposited 31% of their publications in ResearchGate, the most popular self-archiving option in our study, while they deposited only 2.1% of their publications in institutional repositories, the least popular option. The citation rates of the various self-archiving approaches did not differ significantly. Our results suggest that it may be time to rethink how to achieve open access.

Source: The prevalence of green and grey open access: Where do physical science researchers archive their publications? | SpringerLink

Article processing charge (APC) for publishing open access articles: the Brazilian scenario | SpringerLink

Authors: Cleusa Pavan & Marcia C. Barbosa

Comment: This article provides a detailed literature on OA publication in Brazil and tracks the progress over time. This is splits among journals with different APC policies. Again, the caveat may be the sole use of Web of Science data. However, it is still interesting to note that, although the number of OA publications has increased (in absolute terms, rather than percentages), the output process/vehicle has also become endogenic locally. This is possibly driven by lack of funds. The authors suggest policies for funding APC are required to increase international publications.

Abstract: The article processing charge (APC) provides economic sustainability for scientific journals that publish in open access (OA). In this work, documents published in OA between 2012 and 2016 by authors with Brazilian affiliation are identified, the profile of these publications is analyzed and the cost of APC is estimated. In order to do so, data from 930 journals and 63,847 documents were collected from the Web of Science Core Collection. It was found that 59% of these documents were published in journals that charge APC. The total expenditures for the 5-year period were estimated at approximately USD 36 million, the weighted average cost per document at USD 957.75 and the average cost per journal at USD 1492.27. The profile of these publications shows that journals indexed by SciELO represent 67% of the 63,847 documents. The use of mega-journals increased over the period, which implies an increase in expenditure in publications, since the average APC per journal was USD 2059.77. It was observed that the OA Brazilian scientific production is characterized by an endogenic profile and has a preference for the Gold road with APC. These results suggest that policies for funding charges are required to stimulate a more international attitude.

Source: Article processing charge (APC) for publishing open access articles: the Brazilian scenario | SpringerLink

The History, Deployment, and Future of Institutional Repositories in Public Universities in South Africa – ScienceDirect

Author: Siviwe Bangani

Another interesting paper about IRs in South Africa (SA). Web data was collected, together with interviews been conducted. A detailed history of IRs in SA is given. While many of the South African universities have signed various international declarations and initiative on OA, they often don’t have an institutional policy on OA. Various factors (obstacles and enablers) are listed. Amount of funding is relatively low compared to other countries. Varying IR sizes, types of objects in IRs, multiple language support and issues, and suggestions for development are presented and discussed.

This paper investigates the history, deployment, and content of institutional repositories (IRs) in public universities in South Africa. Some of the local, national and international drivers and enablers that ensure the establishment and survival of the institutional repositories are identified. Lastly, an attempt is made to determine the future of the IRs. Findings include that South African universities were among the first universities in the world to host IRs with the first IR established in 2000. The most prevalent and dominant content in South African public university collections are electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). There are signs that this is changing as more libraries cover research outputs emanating from the universities. African languages are sparsely represented in IRs in South Africa. The majority of universities in the country signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, and the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Many of them do not have their own open access policy. The driving factors include the decline in government subsidy, increase in journal subscriptions, depreciation of the South African currency, and addition of the Value Added Tax (VAT) of 14% on electronic resources by the South Africa taxman while the enabling factors include the international open access mandates, the Carnegie Foundation grants, and the National Research Foundation’s statement on open access.

Bangani S (2018) The History, Deployment, and Future of Institutional Repositories in Public Universities in South Africa. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 44(1): 39-51.

Source: The History, Deployment, and Future of Institutional Repositories in Public Universities in South Africa – ScienceDirect

Institutional Repositories in Chinese Open Access Development: Status, Progress, and Challenges – ScienceDirect

Authors: Jing Zhong & Shuyong Jiang

Comment: An interesting paper interrogating institutional repositories (IR) in China. These IRs were accessed via ROAR, OpenDOAR, SouOA and CHAIR, though many URL links were broken. The article highlighted the slow development of OA repositories in China and attributed this to the lack of policy and support at all levels. At the end of the article, it mentioned that the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, in May 2014, released an Open Access policy statement requiring that its funded research papers be made open access in IRs within 12 months after their publication. It would be interesting to follow-up on whether this had made any significant impact.

Open Access (OA) movement in China is developing with its own track and speed. Compared to its western counterparts, it moves slowly. However, it keeps growing. More significantly, it provides open and free resources not only to Chinese scholars, but also to those of China studies around the world. The premise is whether we can find them in an easy and effective fashion. This paper will describe the status of the OA movement in China with a focus on institutional repositories (IR) in Chinese universities and research institutes. We will explore different IR service modules and discuss their coverage, strengths, limitation, and most importantly implications to the East Asian Collection in the US.

Zhong J & Jiang S (2016) Institutional Repositories in Chinese Open Access Development: Status, Progress, and Challenges. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 42(6): 739-744.

Source: Institutional Repositories in Chinese Open Access Development: Status, Progress, and Challenges – ScienceDirect

Virtual Issue: Measuring the Impact of Arts and Humanities Research in Europe | Research Evaluation | Oxford Academic

Authors: Authors of the articles include Clare Donovan, Sverker Sörlin, Ellen Hazelkorn, Andrew Gibson and others.

Summary: A virtual issue of Research Evaluation that covers the issue of impact from Art and Humanities research. In particular a review of the literature from Reale et al is likely useful for providing an overview of work that has been done.

Abstract: In recent years, the concept of ‘impact’, or the wider value of research for society, has climbed to the top of national and EU science policy agendas. Yet the way impact has been imagined often relates to concepts of value, and traditional measurements of impact, which emphasise cost-benefit analyses and the economic value of research, which are poorly suited to arts and humanities research (AHR). This virtual issue of Research Evaluation reflects distinct EU and national debates and characteristics important for exploring the societal value of AHR. These examples are useful for understanding AHR, and also the societal value of research in general.

Source: Virtual Issue: Measuring the Impact of Arts and Humanities Research in Europe | Research Evaluation | Oxford Academic

How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents?

Authors:  Juan Pablo Alperin, Gustavo E. Fischman, Erin C. McKiernan, Carol Muñoz Nieves, Meredith T. Niles, Lesley Schimanski

Summary: The authors examine tenure and promotions requirements documents from 129 North American universities looking for evidence of interest in engagement, open access and other community/public focussed activities. Relatively little is found and the the word ‘community’ is often co-located with words dealing with professional and academic service suggesting an inward looking focus. Also interesting from its perspective on textual analysis as a tool for analysis.

Abstract: Much of the work of universities, even private institutions, has significant public dimensions. Faculty work in particular is often funded by public funds, is aimed at serving the public good, and is subject to public evaluation. To understand how the public dimensions of faculty work are valued, we analyzed review, tenure and promotion documents from a representative sample of 129 Canadian and American universities. We found terms and concepts related to public and community are mentioned in a large portion of documents, but mostly in ways that relate to service—an undervalued aspect of academic careers. Moreover, we find significant mentions of traditional research outputs and citation-based metrics. Such outputs and metrics reward faculty work targeted to academics, and mostly disregard the public dimensions. We conclude that institutions that want to live up to their public mission need to work towards systemic change in how faculty work is assessed and incentivized.

Alperin, J.P., Muñoz Nieves, C., Schimanski, L., Fischman, G.E., Niles, M.T. & McKiernan, E.C. (2018). How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents? Humanities Commons [preprint].

Source: How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents? | hc:21015 | Humanities CORE